Canada Demands Meta Lift News Ban To Allow Wildfire Info Sharing

An anonymous reader quoted a Reuters report: The Canadian government on Friday demanded that Meta lift the “reckless” ban on insider news from its platforms to allow people to share information about wildfires in the western part of the country. Meta started blocking news on its Facebook and Instagram platforms to all users in Canada this month in response to a new law requiring internet giants to pay for news articles. Some people fleeing wildfires in the remote northern town of Yellowknife complained to local media that the ban prevented them from sharing important fire data.

“Meta’s reckless choice to block news … harms access to vital information on Facebook and Instagram,” Heritage Minister Pascal Saint-Ongé said in a social media post. “We urge them to restore news sharing today for the safety of Canadians facing this emergency.” We need more news right now, not less,” she said. Transport Minister Pablo Rodríguez earlier said the ban meant people could not access important information. Chris Bittle, a lawmaker from the ruling Liberal Party, complained on Thursday that “Meta’s actions to block news are reckless and irresponsible”. Ollie Williams, who runs Yellowknife’s digital radio station Cabin Radio, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that people are posting screenshots of information on Facebook because they can’t share links to news feeds. A Meta spokesperson responded by saying the company has enabled a “Safety Check” feature on Facebook that allows users to mark themselves safe after a natural disaster or crisis.

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